Thu 31st Dec 2015
Fourteen years of economic delusion under Gonsalves
Vincentians of all walks of life should take a deep look at our country under Gonsalves. SVG has had 14 years of economic delusion and now our country is in the gutter, economically and socially. Everywhere there is destitution, dilapidation, unemployment, crime and pollution.
Our country has been economically mashed up by an incompetent Minister of Finance, who is not even a university graduate in finance. Since taking office, Gonsalves has been digging a hole to fill a hole, borrowing money to pay debt, thus creating more debt. Taxpayers’ money has been wasted on many projects that do not create revenue for our country, such as the Belle Isle jail.
Gonsalves' economic strategy of begging and borrowing around the world is a failure. The begging bowl is full holes - Libya's Gadaffi is dead, Venezuela’s Chavez is dead and his party out of office, Malaysia's Badawi is no longer in power, Chen of Taiwan is in jail and Manning of Trinidad and Tobago is no longer in power. The coalition of the failing.
The economic delusion is 14 years of a false impression about the economic situation of SVG. The economy has become much worse under the ULP regime. Granting blanket tax and customs duty exemptions to the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and turning a blind eye to Taiwan not paying tax on the billions of dollars they make using SVG’s deep sea fishing licence, is the major cause of decline.
Our country cannot go forward and achieve sustainable development and create thousands of new, long-term jobs, while losing out on billions of dollars of tax and customs duty. The super-rich of Mustique and Canouan, and also Taiwan, must pay tax or pack their bags and go back to where they come from.
According to a business person, SVG's economy is dying by the hour. The business person is very concerned that the financial and economic situation in SVG will disintegrate, if no steps are taken to stimulate economic growth. Businesses need a strong economy for them to flourish. High taxes, such as VAT, are punishing businesses.
The economy has become dangerously weak under Gonsalves' governance: grass has taken over agriculture; tourism is dying; the rural economy has been slaughtered; small businesses are going bust and other businesses have their lowest sales in 40 years; and, remittances from the SVG diaspora are low.
SVG is getting poorer and weaker. If we do not change direction, SVG could deteriorate to being as failing a state as Haiti and Bangladesh.
Gonsalves is running the country by guessing. Rather than guessing and wasting taxpayers' money on useless projects, SVG needs a government focused on building a sustainable revenue base and creating jobs from Green productive sectors.
We should focus on utilising SVG's indigenous resources for agro-processing. We should sell water in tanker loads, build a modern fish processing and canning industry, build at least 5 agro-processing factories, build a renewable electricity industry and build a science university. SVG needs education, innovation and creativity.